Thank you, Madison!

If you didn’t make it out to Worthington Park on Saturday, August 18th, you missed a great party as hundreds of people from our neighborhood and beyond came down for the afternoon. Mentoring Positives hosted a 3v3 basketball tournament, James Earl Tate & the 008 Band performed two solid sets of live music, community partner organizations had information and activities for the kids, The Salvation Army coordinated handing out the free food and drinks, and we got a special treat by seeing the full extension of Ladder 8 from the Madison Fire Department!

The day started off as planned with helpers from WPNA, Goodman Center, Joining Forces for Families, The Salvation Army and other groups getting the stage set for the 9th annual Darbo Family Picnic. We made use of the entire park by placing games, special interest information, food, educational activities and live performances in about 20 different areas. If you were there, I bet you hadn’t ever seen the park like that! (Just think of what else we can do.)

US Marines had a chin-up bar installed near the music and magic stage. Watching people hang there as long as they could was pretty amusing. Police brought a canine unit out for kids to postively experience, and MG&E parked their electric car out on the grass. The Salvation Army’s school supplies giveaway was a massive hit, drawing people from all over the city, and there were plenty of back-to-school things to go around.

A wave from the Canteen.

With a really small budget, having enough food was a concern but we made it. Generosity of The Salvation Army, Goodman Center, WPNA, UW Provision and Woodman’s helped tremendously. Along with tent and table and food donations, The Salvation Army drove out their Canteen, a self-contained emergency response vehicle, and parked in under the beautiful canopy of trees. They set up the propane grill, cooked and served the hot food, and even brought out a popcorn machine! Huge thanks to Craig Henrickson and Major Carter for their incredible contribution.

Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream supplied three flavor staples of deliciousness at a very nice discount. Though they physically struggled to keep up with demand, Meridian Group ran the VERY popular ice cream table. Along with Zanzibar Chocolate and Strawberry offerings, Meridian brought Root Beer to accompany the Vanilla. They even thought to bring veggie snacks for folks who couldn’t have sweets! How thoughtful.

Friends of Starkweather Creek demonstrated how rainwater washes topsoil and surface treatments off the land into waterways, Madison Public Library and MMSD Play and Learn hosted games and activities, UNIDOS Against Domestic Violence had face painting and more activities, and community information was everywhere. James the Magician performed one of his comedic magic shows for the kids, and it was a joy to see children having so much fun with that. I want to extend thanks to MATC, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Community Action Coalition, YWCA, Access Health and others for bringing even more fun to the park.

We would have had a much harder time pulling off such a big event without support from Madison Parks, and to Craig Klinke we owe a great deal of gratitude. Also, Mayor Soglin stopped by and seeing how the park was in need of a portable bathroom, had one sent out. It got there around 2:30 but better late than never, right? Thank you, City of Madison folks, for all you did.

WPNA looks forward to more fun in Worthington Park and together with our caring community partners, we’re going to see this happen. If you have ideas for other park events, including sports and activities for seniors, please share them. (Plus, check in with Mentoring Positives and ask about ongoing park activities for kids and adults.)

Keep on truckin’, Darbo!

President, WPNA